Over the last century, the Indian film industry has seen dramatic changes in its story-telling and production.

1897 - 1913

Two Bollywood short films were made in 1897 and 1899 - but Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’ was the first-full length silent feature film release in India in 1913.


Alam Ara, the first Indian film with sound, was released.


Bollywood began to experiment with making horror film. Mahal starring Madhubala is renowned as the first Indian horror film production.


The migration of thousands of South Asians to Britain in the 1950s from the sub-continent and from East Africa in the 1970s led to the creation of specialist cinemas, showing Bollywood films.


Indian censors banned the on-screen kiss. Filmmakers showed intimacy through symbolism - running around trees was commonly seen in 1950s and 1960s films.


The decade that gave rise to Masala Movies. Bollywood was hugely influenced by Hollywood, adopting action and Western styles for its audiences. The most notable example is Sholay (1975), which starred legends Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra. So popular, it ran for five years in Mumbai’s Minerva Theatre.


Romantic films became a key focus for directors and production companies. Maine Pyar Kiya (1987) took India by storm and was the biggest hit of the 1980s. It gave rise to Salman Khan who has since become one of the most successful male actors in India.

Other notable examples include Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Taal (1999), Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000) and Kabhi Khushie Kabhi Gham (2001).


Amitabh Bachchan becomes the first Indian actor to have a waxwork made in his honour by Madame Tussauds.

Amitabh Bachchan, one of the stars of Sholay, poses with his waxwork at Madame Tussauds Credit: Michael Stephens/PA Archive/Press Association Images


Bollywood begins to experiment with science fiction. Koi Mil Gaya (2003) tells the story of an Indian scientist who makes contact with alien life forms. It led to the spin-off Krrish (2006), who is the first (non-religious) Bollywood superhero. In 2011, Shah Rukh Khan made his sci-fi debut in hit Ra.One.